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Young Hustler Coffee delivers our best-handpicked coffee from around the world, and motivational messages by up-and-coming entrepreneurs directly to your door.  This week’s featured entrepreneur is Abbie Preston owner of Box Sparrow Studio.

When Abbie Preston walks into her studio every day, she doesn’t know what her spark of creativity will create. Preston started Box Sparrow Studio in 2013, located in downtown Houston. She trained as an apprentice to a studio potter, who taught her the behind the scenes part of owning a studio. She was a resident artist and a teacher at the studio to get increasingly comfortable with the medium.  

Abbie Preston Owner Box Sparrow

“I had to transfer to the wheel and just kind of fell in love with the possibilities and just making functional pieces,” Preston said.  

Although a lot of people perceive art to be easy, especially ceramics, the whole craft is incredibly difficult. Ceramics seems to be the hardest because of all the steps that go into it. According to Preston each piece takes about 2-4 weeks and an incredibly amount of patience with each piece she makes. If a piece goes through three firings, then you open the lid to find a huge crack in it you have to start over. 

“There’s a lot of chemistry involved, so you really have to focus and slowdown to take your time,” Preston said. “Sometimes it can very unforgiving, so I think when I do take my time and really focus on the details, that’s when I’m most successful.” 

While it can be a difficult craft, Preston pursues it because she loves it and finds inspiration in what those pieces will mean to others. Her own family had dinner at the table every night together, that’s what started her off on the types of pieces she creates. She began to think about what they were eating off of, that’s where she draws her inspiration from.  

“The hope is that they become these generational pieces, like heir looms that are passed down,” Preston said. “That inspires me. When people come together around the table, the conversations that are had because they occur in many different and beautiful ways.” 

Preston has two collections that are based off of her own family. The Papou collection is based off her grandfather and is larger platters, pitchers and bowls for hosting. The Betty collection is inspired by her grandmother and is for the everyday: bowls, cups, and mugs. Each piece is handmade and feels personal, even having her signature carved into the bottom of the work.  

When working with such a fickle medium, mess ups and failure is inevitable and sometimes not even her fault. A piece breaking in the kiln is something she can’t control, but takes the repercussions for. As a self identifies perfectionist, Preston struggles with working through the aftermath of a failure. 

“What I try to put into practice is to just take a step back and observe what happened,” Preston said. “Take note of that and be able to learn from what happened.”  

She has keys to success that keep her motivated even when something doesn’t go quite the way she wants it to. For Preston part of being successful and building her brand is consistency. She was told that just being in the space that she was working in would get her creativity going, to designate it as a space of creation and art for her brain. She would often just go in to sit at her desk when they first started.  

Another part of her work that Preston intentionally does to create success for her studio is intentionality and quality. She works hard to make a piece she is proud of, being intentional about each step of the creation process, to create the best work she possibly can.  

“Take the time to slow down and create honest and exceptional work, never selling anything that compromises the craftsmanship or technique put into each piece,” Preston said. “My work is set apart because of the intentionality and the focus and trying to make honest work.” 

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ALL NEW EPISODE – WATCH IT NOW! 

Claire Mynatt – Creative Content Writer

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